GRANT PARK — A Love’s Travel Stop may eventually be built in Grant Park, but not nearly as fast as the company had envisioned.
The Grant Park Planning and Zoning Commission tabled the needed change in zoning and a special use zoning permit request for the company so further study could be completed on the proposed 5-acre development.
The matter will return to the commission at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20. The permit request was tabled by a 4-1 vote, with one commissioner abstaining.
Several village residents, and some who do not live in the village, objected to the development of a Love’s Travel Stop & Country Stores. Before an audience of about 100 on Thursday night in the Grant Park Community Center, Commissioner Paul Eggert requested the matter be delayed.
“This is moving too fast,” he said. “Way too fast.”
His motion was seconded by Commissioner Nick Gore and gained the majority vote.
Love’s real estate project manager Chad Bruner, who explained the project to the commission and audience, and attempted to address residents’ concerns, said after the meeting Love’s still wants the development.
“We’re not going anywhere,” he said.
Thirteen Grant Park residents or nearby residents took to the microphone to ask questions or state their view on the project. Of the 13, only one person spoke in support.
Those voicing objections focused on potential water drainage and ground water contamination, increased truck traffic, noise, semi-tractor exhaust fumes and traffic.
During the hearing, Bruner said Love’s prides itself on running a “first-class business.” In an attempt to calm fears of fuel runoff and water contamination, he noted today’s fuel centers are not the gas stations of the 1970s.
“These are highly regulated businesses,” he said. He noted fuel stations have systems in place to gather spilled fuel. He also noted the station would be a Tier 3 complex, meaning a small location. The Kankakee-based Love’s is a Tier 1 location, meaning it handles a large volume of over-the-road trucks.
He said the Grant Park station would be designed only to be serving truckers and motorists currently traveling there, meaning it wouldn’t be pulling those from Interstate 57 or I-65.
His words did not sooth many.
“This development will bring nothing but more headaches,” said resident Stanley Gawlinski. “... Why do we need you here? We don’t need you here. Over here we have peace and quiet and that’s the way we want to keep it.”
The only person who spoke in favor was Richard Loitz, a former over-the-road trucker. He stated in all of his years driving across the country, he never visited a dirty Love’s station.
“Whether it’s built or not, trucks will still be traveling up and down [Illinois 1],” he said.
The Love’s has been proposed for northeast portion of Grant Park where Illinois 1/17 connects with Illinois 1.
The station would be about a quarter mile east of the existing Casey gas station.
Village Mayor Martin Roth, who did not speak during the hearing, previously stated the village could see an increase of tax revenue between $60,000 to $75,000 annually through various taxing sources.
The Oklahoma City, Okla.-based company operates more than 500 stations throughout the United States.